Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When “liberal” means “good”

Today a rising MP in the NZ National Party, Katherine Rich, announced she won’t stand in the next election. I always thought she was a tough opponent for the Labour Party, and would make a formidable obstacle to Labour’s re-election.

But I also respected her because she was in the centre of the otherwise conservative National Party, and her centrism couldn’t have been easy. Her being a moderate made former leader Don Brash demote her when she couldn’t go along with some his Party’s more draconian anti-welfare proposals. I immediately wondered if her departure means the party is shifting firmly to the right again.

What struck me about the coverage was that many reporters were talking about her departure as a blow to the National Party because she’s a liberal. In other words, they were saying being liberal is a good thing. How very different from my homeland.

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